Contact: Timothy Putman (906) 847-3328
Agency: History, Arts and Libraries
Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse Opens to Public Tours in
September 30, 2003
Mackinaw City, Mich. — For the first time in over 50 years, Great Lakes
lighthouse fans will be able to climb the circular stairway to the top of
the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse tower in Mackinaw City and take in the
panoramic view of the Straits of Mackinac. Mackinac State Historic Parks (MSHP)
plans to open the lighthouse to public tours starting June 12, 2004.
“The opening of the Old Mackinac Point Light Station tower and keepers'
dwelling will show a restoration in progress,” said MSHP Curator of
Collections Steve Brisson. “Visitors will see up close what has been
accomplished in the ongoing restoration of the building - and the work
that still needs to be completed.”
The entire first floor of the structure will be fully accessible to all
visitors. Placed throughout the building, interesting and exciting
exhibits will highlight the history and operation of the station. A number
of hands-on exhibits are planned that will be fun and informative for both
children and adults. Visitors will see original artifacts from the
station, including the beautiful brass and glass Fresnel lens that lit the
Straits of Mackinac for over 60 years.
MSHP will fully restore and furnish the kitchen of the keeper's dwelling
to its 1910 appearance to show visitors what to expect once the full
restoration is complete.
Guides in historic costumes will be stationed within the lighthouse to
assist visitors, provide historical information, conduct tours of the
grounds and lead small groups up the tower.
Admission is tentatively set at $5 for adults, $3 for children (5-17), and
free to children five and under. Group rates will be available. Revenue
from admissions is one way MSHP is raising the $2.4 million needed for
complete restoration. Donations are another.
“Hopefully, people will be inspired by the history, charm and current
condition of this landmark structure to donate funds to continue the
restoration,” noted Brisson.
MSHP has raised over $230,000 through donations, revenue from sales at the
lighthouse gift store and three lighthouse assistance grants from the
Michigan State Historic Preservation Office. Workers will complete
necessary restoration work on roofs and windows this winter.
The lighthouse is a popular landmark in Mackinaw City, clearly visible to
the 4.7 million travelers crossing the Mackinac Bridge a few hundred yards
to the west. Visitors have long enjoyed strolling the grounds, picnicking
in Michilimackinac State Park and peering in the windows of the
lighthouse. Built in 1892, it guided ships through the dangerous straits
until 1957. The U.S. Coast Guard decommissioned the lighthouse when the
navigation lights on the Mackinac Bridge rendered it obsolete.
Mackinac State Historic Parks is a family of living history museums and
parks in Northern Michigan’s Straits of Mackinac region, including Fort
Mackinac and Mackinac Island State Park on Mackinac Island, as well as
Colonial Michilimackinac and Historic Mill Creek in Mackinaw City. The
sites are accredited by the American Association of Museums. Visitor
information is available on the Web at
www.MackinacParks.com and by
phone at (906) 847-3328 or (231) 436-4100.
Mackinac State Historic Parks is an agency of the Department of History,
Arts and Libraries, whose mission is to enrich the quality of life for
Michigan residents by providing access to information, preserving and
promoting Michigan’s heritage and fostering cultural creativity. The
department also includes the Library of Michigan, the Michigan Council for
Arts and Cultural Affairs, the Michigan Film Office and the Michigan
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